Following Ding Junhui’s 12th ranking event title success at the Shanghai Masters last week, there are now just five events to go in the race for places at the 2016 Champion of Champions event in Coventry.
Having narrowly missed out upon qualification last season due to Mark Allen’s victory at the Bulgarian Open, Ding had already made sure of qualification this time around thanks to his runs to the Crucible final and also victory at the Six Red World Championship earlier this month. Technically however, it will be his success in Shanghai that will see him return to Coventry, being the highest of those three qualifying events in the qualification criteria.
Qualification for the event will be determined by the results of professional tournaments dating back to Neil Robertson’s victory at the event in 2015, events having been ordered in a specific line of priority.
Players currently qualified are set out below, numbered by qualification priority, not seeding:
1. 2015 Champion of Champions – Neil Robertson (1)
2. 2015 UK Championship – Neil Robertson
3. 2016 Masters – Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)
4. 2016 German Masters – Martin Gould (3)
5. 2016 Welsh Open – Ronnie O’Sullivan
6. 2016 Championship League Snooker – Judd Trump (4)
7. 2016 World Grand Prix – Shaun Murphy (5)
8. 2016 Players Championship – Mark Allen (6)
9. 2016 China Open – Judd Trump
10. 2016 World Championship – Mark Selby (7)
11. 2016 Indian Open (July) – Anthony McGill (8)
12. 2016 World Open (July) – Ali Carter (9)
13. 2016 Shanghai Masters (Sept) – Ding Junhui (10)
14. 2016 European Masters (Oct) – tbc
15. 2016 English Open (Oct) – tbc
16. 2016 International Championship (Oct) – tbc
17. 2016 China Championship – tbc
18. 2015 Gibraltar Open – Marco Fu (11)
19. 2016 Gdynia Open – Mark Selby
20. 2016 Riga Masters – Neil Robertson
21. 2016 Paul Hunter Classic (Aug) – Mark Selby
22. 2016 World Championship runner-up – Ding Junhui
23. 2016 Shoot Out – Robin Hull (12)
24. 2016 6 Reds World Championship (Sep) – Ding Junhui
25. 2016 World Seniors Championship – Mark Davis (13)
There have been a number of changes to the qualification criteria for Coventry in recent weeks, but we can now say that with 21 of the 25 qualifying events now completed, there are now 13 individual players in line to make it to the Ricoh Arena.
Of those, 12 are now certain to qualify, Shoot Out winner Robin Hull secured by Ding Junhui’s latest success in Shanghai. World Seniors champion Mark Davis has also seen his position strengthened by Ding’s recent victories in Thailand and China, needing just one of the remaining four qualifying events to be won by one of the above players who has already qualified.
But what if there are more repeat winners? How will the field be completed? It has today been announced that any top up players will be selected from the one-year ranking list, including prize money earned during the 2016/17 season only. At the time of writing the top players on that list, not already qualified are:
1. Joe Perry £41,050
2. Michael Holt £38,150
3. Stuart Bingham £34,775
4. Stephen Maguire £32,500
5. Kyren Wilson £32,025
A maximum of three players can still qualify through this list, if each of the remaining four qualifying events are won by players not already qualified for the Champion of Champions. While possible, with the likes of Stuart Bingham, John Higgins, Ricky Walden and Joe Perry among those looking to secure a place, this would appear unlikely, with perhaps one or two more likely to be needed from this list.
Another place will be up for grabs next week at the European Masters from Bucharest, Romania, with the winner guaranteed a place in Coventry.